There’s a reason wellness starts with “we”; your health affects more than just you. From keeping plastic water bottles out of the landfills to your children watching you choose fresh produce at the market. Wellness has a cumulative effect on others and the environment. There’s no doubt that our health choices affect those around us: think about second-hand smoke research. More than eating healthy, though, well-being is a mindful connection between the body, mind, and spirit. Feeding our soul is as important as feeding our bodies.
Choosing the path toward better health, however, isn’t as complicated as we make it.
We often use time as a barricade for bettering our well-being.
“When the kids are in school I’ll start exercising.”
“After this big project I’ll start cooking healthy.”
“When I win the lottery I’ll travel to Thailand.”
But what if- for a few moments- time didn’t pose an obstacle? What if choosing this new path allowed you the time to live a healthier, happier version of you?
Unlike a “diet” which focuses on your numbers on a scale, clothing size, and deprivation, enhancing your well-being is a journey that provides endless opportunities for growth.
Just like any new skill, the beginning takes a little more time. Even if you haven’t been on a bicycle in years, you probably don’t have to spend as much time learning to balance as you did the first time the training wheels came off.
Think of this trail guide as your training wheels for wellness.
If you’re just starting on this path, these ideas will help you find solid footing. If you’re a little more seasoned, you’ll love the additional guides that follow this week.
Consider these the Green Run/Beginner paths to better health.
Eat the Rainbow: Sure, it’s great if you can make all of your meals at home, but that isn’t always feasible. Regardless where your meals occur, try to incorporate the rainbow (no, skittles don’t count!) into your meals. Need a snack and you haven’t had anything blue/purple yet? Try blueberries or refreshing frozen purple grapes.
Getting the kids involved is a great way to increase their ‘rainbow’ intake too. Have them help you choose which green foods to incorporate into lunch, or to try something new like purple potatoes!
Read more about the nature’s medicine cabinet and the benefits eating the rainbow here.
Bicycle built for two…or three. Out of milk? Jr. needs to be picked up at a friend’s house? Usually we’re quick to hop in our car for every errand, regardless of distance, because it’s faster. We all know faster isn’t always better though. Try to avoid driving anywhere that’s under a mile (or five if your area is pedestrian friendly).
Yes, it may take a few minutes more, but you’re getting an exercise bonus. Walk the dog with you and now they’ve benefited too! At least if you don’t make it to the gym that day, you still moved your body and kept a little gas money in your wallet.
Dance like you don’t care who’s watching. Or sing, or draw, or read. We all have a favorite passion that we wish we had more time to enjoy. Here’s a secret…you have time…overlooked minutes throughout your day. Keep a book, sketch pad, or notebook in your bag for unexpected (or expected) delays: waiting for an appointment, flight delays, stuck behind a freight train.
Need more time than five minutes or a slight delay? Dedicate a half-hour or hour once a week for your passion. The dishes can sit for a night while you feed your soul.
Create a Fun Challenge: Adopt an odd challenge just to make life a little more interesting. Put every $5.00 bill you receive in a pretty jar- you’ll be amazed how fast it adds up & you’re closer to that trip to Thailand or class you wanted to take.
Think of three places you can use (or wear) something before buying it on a whim. Have a contest with your kids (or yourself) to see who can put away the most items during a commercial break. Instead of trying to declutter an entire room at once, finish one shelf, drawer, or corner of the room on odd days only.
Just like you wouldn’t attempt a 5k on your first run, these paths are beginning steps too. Maybe you don’t fit all of the colors into your meals everyday, but once a week works. Start where you can, and do what you can today.
Tomorrow is another day.
Regret photo credit
Bicycled photo credit